Winter’s long road under repair

WINTERSVILLE – Repaving 8 miles of county roads, chipping and sealing 36 miles and several bridge jobs are on the summer work schedule for the Jefferson County Engineer’s Department.

Engineer James Branagan was fearing the worst after a long cold snowy winter, but county roads remained in pretty good shape after the spring thaw.

“What helped us out was that it stayed cold and we didn’t have the ususal freeze and thaw that damages roads,” Branagan said.

Chief Deputy Engineer Andy Bryan said there was no obvious damage to county roads during the winter. He said he is concerned about some premature deterioration on roads that were chipped and sealed last summer, but he believes that may have more to do with the quality of the stone used last summer as compared to the winter weather.

The engineer’s department will be doing repaving on more than 8 miles of county roads. Work includes 4 miles of paving on JFK Highway (county Road 47), 1 mile on county Road 9, 2 miles on county Road 45 and 1.5 miles of county Road 50.

Branagan said the price tag for the repaving work will be more than $1 million.

Bryan said 36 miles of county roads will be chipped and sealed. The scheduled roads are county Roads 3, 7, 7F, 15A, 16A, 17A, 22A, 26, 50A, 51, 53, 57 and 74. Bryan said it costs about $20,000 a mile for chip and seal.

Bryan said the county is still behind schedule in chipping sealing roads every five or so years but will be back on schedule next year if 35 miles are completed then.

Bryan said the county will do about 10 miles of chip-and-seal work on township roads, with the townships paying for the materials.

Branagan said the county also is behind schedule in paving work. He said the department has a goal of repaving 10 to 11 miles a year.

County bridge engineer Kara Bernhart has plans for bridge work this summer.

Branagan said, “We are in better shape than most other counties. We have a number of bridges with structural deficiencies that have posted lower weight limits.”

A bridge on county Road 39 had its weight limit reduced and was reduced to one lane. A temporary column will be placed under a beam that is cracked to help keep the bridge open until it is the deck and beams are replaced this summer. The project will cost upward of $900,000, with 80 percent of the cost being paid for by the Federal Highway Administration.

A bridge on county Road 53 will have its stringers and deck replaced this summer. The project is currently out for bids. A county highway department truck recently fell through the deck, resulting in the bridge being closed.

Two slips on county Roads 6 and 10 will be fixed. Bryan said crews are keeping an eye on other developing slips. Branagan said there is a slip on county Road 7F that will be expensive to repair. He said he has been in touch with the Army Corps of Engineers to design a fix. He said the county engineer’s department has put millions of dollars into slip repairs on the road in the past 10 years, including a $100,000 bridge.

Road base repairs will be done by county highway department crews. Base repairs are scheduled on county Road 10, 47, 9, 41, 45 and 50. Bryan said the base repairs are done prior to paving work. It costs about $30,00 a mile for base repairs.

Bryan said the department is a little behind in buying new equipment. Two dump trucks will be purchased this year. The department likes to get about 11 years out of a dump truck. Bryan said snow plows took a beating this winter.

The department also is purchasing a set of portable traffic lights at a cost of $50,000. Bryan said the portable traffic lights will be used at both ends of a project that reduces the road to one lane for more than a couple of days.

The Ohio Department of Transportation this summer has a handful of new projects on tap, but mostly it will be a continuation on three hillside failures along state Route 7. ODOT is spending $21.9 million on the hillside at Rush Run, $34.9 million just north of Brilliant and $16 million at Rush Run, south of Brilliant.

ODOT is doing a bridge deck replacement on state Route 7 in Mingo Junction at a cost of $2.5 million. Bridge repair work also is being done on state Route 7 about a half mile north of state Route 151, with a cost of nearly $1.69 million.

Lighting replacement also will be done along exits on state Route 7 in Toronto at a cost of nearly $518,000.

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